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Note Added to Embryo Editing Paper

Nature has added an editor's note to a paper from US researchers describing the use of gene-editing tools to correct a pathogenic mutation in human embryos, Retraction Watch reports.

The paper, published in August by Oregon Health & Science University's Shoukhrat Mitalipov in Nature, reported on their use of CRISPR/Cas9 to edit a mutation associated with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. As GenomeWeb reported at the time, the researchers said they corrected an autosomal dominant mutation in MYBPC3 with high efficiency and avoided mosaicism and off-target effects.

The editor's note says that other researchers have criticized the conclusions of the paper and that editors there are weighing those comments. In late August, researchers led by Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center's Maria Jasin posted a critique of the paper to BioRxiv in which they noted that Mitalipov and his colleagues didn't provide direct evidence for having fixed the pathogenic allele, but only failed to detect mutant alleles.

Nature tells Retraction Watch that they appended a note because they felt there wasn't enough information to merit a formal expression of concern, but still wanted to alert readers to the situation.

Mitalipov also says that he and his colleagues are working on a response and are generating additional data, according to Retraction Watch.

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